Carrot Pulp Cake with Maple-Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Earlier this year I tried to make a soup out of green apple peels left over from a flurry of apple cake making. I had the best of intentions and, for a brief while, envisioned inventing something splendid. The results (I'm sad to say) were actually quite disastrous. I might even go as far as calling them disgusting. We tossed the whole (stinky) pot in the toilet and pretended like the whole thing never happened.

I still have dreams of using my apple peels for something other than filling the trash, but until that day comes, I can at least comfort myself with my ability to use carrot pulp.

I bought a juicer a few weeks ago. It was all part of this 101 Goals in 1001 Days challenge that I've put myself up to. Basically, I just made a long list of thing both big and small that I would like to accomplish within the next almost-3 years. I've actually already knocked out a few of them already, one of these being to purchase a juicer and develop a habit of making my own fresh juices. I'd always been a bit hesitant to do so because of horror stories about how difficult juicers are to clean and the hefty price, but I somehow lucked upon a fantastic little compact model that cleans easily and which only cost a shade over 70 dollars--the same amount I'd previously spent each week on daily 10-dollar green juices from the organic market.

The thing is that, just like with those apple peels, I was finding myself overcome with guilt at the amount of delicious and nutritious pulp that I was tossing out each day. So I started figuring out things to do with it. One of the most obvious (and delicious!!!) tips was to turn the pulp leftover from carrot juice into carrot pulp cake. I gave it a shot (using my favorite stand-by recipe that I've been making since I was about 14)and came up with a pretty fantastic and perfectly textured version. The trick to using pulp from which all the juice has been extracted, is to replace the missing water content. I used unsweetened applesauce to supplement, but I suspect that crushed pineapple, yogurt, or even a mashed banana could work as well.

One thing to note is that the frosting for this is actually a bit runny. I like it that way because when it finally does set (after a night in the fridge), the result is just luxuriously creamy without being all that heavy or too sweet. To help yourself, make the frosting first and then let sit in the fridge while you mix, bake, and cool the cake. Or you can add another cup or two of powdered sugar to help thicken it; just note that this will also make it much sweeter.

Oh, and if you're wondering. This cake can also be made using plain old shredded carrots instead of juicer pulp. Just eliminate the apple sauce and you'll be good to go. If you like nuts in your cake (I don't) these can also be added to the batter, or used to decorate the sides of the cake.

Carrot Pulp Cake with Maple-Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

For the cake:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (Vietnamese, if you have it)
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (use a nice fruity kind)
4 large eggs
4 cups carrot pulp from juicer
1 cup unsweetened applesauce

For the frosting:
16 ounces (2 packs) cream cheese
1/2 stick softened butter
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
zest of 1 whole orange, finely grated
3 cups powdered sugar

Make the frosting first:

1. Using the electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until combined. Add the heavy cream and whip until soft and fluffy. Beat in the maple syrup, orange juice and zest. Add the powdered sugar bit by bit until completely combined (be careful as it tends to explode on your face if you add in too much at a time). Blend well then press a piece of plastic wrap over the frosting and place in the fridge to cool while you make the cake. (Note that the frosting should be a bit runny)

For cake:
1.Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans. Line bottom of pans with waxed or parchment paper. Butter and flour sides of pan and tap out extra.

2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg in a medium bowl.

3. In the base of your electric mixture with the whisk attachment, whisk the sugar and oil until combined. Beat the eggs in one at a time.

4. Switch to the paddle attachment, and and add the flour mixture until all combined.

5. Add the carrot pulp and ginger and continue mixing. Divide the batter between prepared pans and bake for 40 minutes or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Flip the cakes out onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

When the cakes have cooled:

Place 1 cake layer on platter. Spread with 3/4 cup icing. Top with second layer. Spread remaining icing over entire cake. Let chill before serving so that the frosting has time to set (about 1-2 hours)


  1. Yumm! I love carrot cake and who said that you couldn't have any in the summer? I love to break unwritten rules once in a while.

    Great post!

  2. This looks absolutely amazing!

  3. You can use carrot pulp in bread too and beet pulp is great in a chocolate cake.

    As for those apple peelings - could you compost them, or is that so un-New York that you're now laughing behind your hand at my ignorance?

    Or you could eat the apple with the peel....

    x x x

  4. Thanks for reminding me about the beet pulp in the chocolate cake!

    Must do next time.

    As for composting, no, it's not really feasible in my apartment. I already battle little buggies so it's best to actually not leave them a ready supply of rotting food. Some people can do it using special indoor pails and drop off centers, but it's not really practical for me.

    I can use a teensy bit (read, peel of one apple) in my one plant, though. Fortunately I usually do eat the apple with the peel (i eat the seeds and core too, which freaks my boyfriend out), but this was from a recipe that called for peeled apples. I have been contemplating apple peel wine, though... ;)

  5. What a great idea! It looks really delicious, too. What's not to love about a useful carrot cake?

  6. Erin from Long IslandJuly 18, 2009 at 12:44 AM

    i have been craving the crap out of carrot cake, and it is not even a fav of mine. i am so glad i stumbled upon this post!

    i made a lot of apple sauce in th fall and had to come up with a lot of ideas for the peels. i used them to add crunch and tang to a cilantro chutney and also to do the same in turkey burgers. the little i had left went into a bowl of oatmeal. hope these help!!!

  7. Hi Alejandra,
    I stumbled on your blog looking for something to do with pulp. This blog rocks! Far too modest regarding the mediocre photography. Girl you are living the dream!
    It's in the oven now and my house smells like a home.
    FYI, the recipe doesn't specify when to add the powdered sugar or applesauce. I figured it out but wanted to give you a heads up.
    Keep up the great work!
    Bay Area, CA

  8. Update....
    Hands down the best cake I've ever eaten. So easy! I don't even bake.

  9. your frosting recipe for the carrot cake does not say when to put the powder sugar in.....?


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